This is Part 4 of of the (re)Vision talk on leadership principles from the Life of Mary.
We've been talking about the leadership lessons we can learn from the life of Mary. That she aggressively embraced the call of God on her life even though that call came at the expense of her comfort and reputation. And that she engaged in affirming friendships. Today, I want to look at her quiet courage.
When Mary left Elizabeth’s house after three months, she had to return to her village "obviously pregnant." This was not a culture known for sexual freedom. By law, Mary could have been killed. As far as anyone could tell, this was an illegitimate pregnancy. The angel appeared to Joseph, but as far as we know, the angel didn’t give the heads up to anyone else in the village. If I had been Mary, I would have been running around trying to defend myself, trying to explain, and trying to do damage control. And if not for myself, then in defense of my child to be. Scripture doesn’t speak directly to this issue, but we can infer from the angel’s interaction with Joseph, as recorded in Matthew, that this was a problem that Mary had to face with quiet courage.
Women of influence have a quiet courage about who they are called to be and what they are called to do.
How often do we find ourselves defending ourselves or explaining ourselves or our choices? We invest a lot of energy trying to “control” situations, people, and people’s opinions. But influence and control are two very different things. Influence is fueled by a trust in God. Control is fueled by a need to defend ourselves. If we are walking in he calling that that God has given us, then He can be our advocate.
Mary displays courage by following her husband to Bethlehem. Luke 2:5 says, “He (Joseph) took with him Mary, his fiance, who was obviously pregnant by this time.”
Bethlehem was 70 miles away from Nazareth. Now, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have been very excited about traipsing to Bethlehem while “obviously pregnant.” I don’t care what the government was asking. But Mary once again displayed courage in making that trek.
Real influence does not come through striving. It’s not about protecting an image or a reputation. It flows naturally from the person we are. It’s about letting the facts stand on their own and allowing God to be our defender.